Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

We use a specially modified high resolution field emission scanning electron microscope (Hitachi 4300 FE-SEM) for carbon nanotube (CNT) attachment (Figure 1a). The modified SEM has a inbuilt fine piezo controlled micromanipulator for the attachment of the multi-walled CNT, a method developed by the group of Prof. Nakayama, Osaka Prefectural University. Using the micromanipulator, an AFM tip (which is positioned on a sample stage) is brought into close contact with a single CNT protruding from a razor blade edge (positioned on a second stage) (Figure 1b). The CNT is then glued onto the AFM tip by the deposition of amorphous carbon. The attached CNT probe can then be moved away from the razor blade and by applying a pulsed voltage between the tip and the razor blade, the length of the CNT probe can be adjusted. This technique allows us to control both the length and position of the CNT probe. Click here to see a video of the nanotube attachment process. In addition to CNT attachment, the FE-SEM is routinely used for both sample and tip characterisation and offers resolution capabilities of 1.5 - 5 nm at 15kV.
Figure 1: The modified Hitachi 4300 FE-SEM

SEM StageFigure 2: CNT attachment houses two separte stages, one for the AFM cantilever and a razor blade with aligned CNT

  1. Local Solvation Shell Measurement in Water Using a Carbon Nanotube Probe, Jarvis, S. P., Uchihashi, T., Ishida, T., Tokumoto, H., and Nakayama, Y., Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 104, 6091-6094, (2000). 
  2. Application of carbon nanotubes to topographical resolution enhancement of tapered fiber SNOM probes, Huntington, S. T., and Jarvis, S. P., Review of Scientific Instruments, 74, 2933-2935, (2003). [PDF]